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Vrai = real / true (adjectives that change meaning according to position)

Note that certain adjectives change their meanings depending if they appear before or after the noun.

Look at these uses of vrai:

Une histoire vraie.
A true story.

Une vraie histoire.
Quite a story.

Before the noun, vrai means quite a / elaborate / interesting.

After the noun, vrai means true/real.

Note that generally adjectives appear after the noun, but some very common adjectives go before.

 

See also: 

Ancien = former / old (adjectives that change meaning according to position) 

Cher= dear / expensive (adjectives that change meaning according to position) 

Certain = specific / sure (adjectives that change meaning according to position) 

Dernier = final / previous (adjectives that change meaning according to position)

Propre = own / clean (adjectives that change meaning according to position)

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Une vraie histoire.
Quite a story.


Une histoire vraie.
A true story.



Micro kwiz: Vrai = real / true (adjectives that change meaning according to position)
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Q&A

Blix

Kwiziq community member

23 February 2018

1 reply

Un vrai plaisir

Blix

Kwiziq community member

23 February 2018

23/02/18

I retract my question.

Melody

Kwiziq community member

19 January 2017

2 replies

Vrai vs. faux

I think it would be helpful to point out in this lesson that vrai vs. faux do not behave (placement) in the same was as other opposites such as grand/petit, bon/mauvais etc.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

27 January 2017

27/01/17

Bonjour Melody !

Could you please clarify what you mean here ?

Merci :)

Melody

Kwiziq community member

27 January 2017

27/01/17

I was also referencing the lesson https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/my-languages/french/review/3002/605527

It's easy to miss the fact while faux obeys the usual rules, vrai does not. Other opposites do. I made the wrong assumption about vrai/ faux.

All I was suggesting was adding this as a link to the current lesson, or noting in the lesson linked above, that vrai and faux to not behave in the same way as other opposites.

Joakim

Kwiziq community member

28 October 2016

1 reply

Translation

I'm reading "seul sur Mars" (originally in English). The protagonist is testing that his equipment can clean air properly: "D’accord, ce n’est pas un vrai test, car je ne suis pas à l’intérieur à consommer de l’oxygène et produire du CO2". If understand this lesson properly, a better translation would be "ce n'est pas un test vrai" ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

28 October 2016

28/10/16

Bonjour Joakim !

First of all, well done! That's quite a challenge!

As for "vrai", the nuance of position is more complicated than this.
As I told you before, generally speaking, a lot of adjectives can be used either before or after the noun. Used "after", adjectives' meaning is more literal, objective or based on neutral observation (thus "vrai" meaning "true/real" in an objective manner there), whereas used "before", adjectives take on more of a subjective, figurative or based on opinion meaning ("vrai" expressing more of an opinion of something = "a real man").

So while "un test vrai" would sound very neutral, using "un vrai test" here is also perfectly acceptable, and brings a extra "value" layer to the expression: "a test worthy of that name".

John

Kwiziq community member

2 September 2016

2 replies

true story = real story?

This one is a bit hard to distinguish since isn't a real story a true story? When we say it's quite a story, it means it's an elaborate, interesting story, right?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

6 September 2016

6/09/16

Bonjour John !

We completely agreed with$your suggestions, and edited the lesson accordingly!

Merci et à bientôt !

Katie

Kwiziq community member

13 November 2016

13/11/16

Following your comments here, shouldn't the title of the lesson also be changed to reflect your edits? As such:
Adjectives That Change Meaning According to Position - vrai (quite, elaborate, interesting / real, true)
I'll be right with you...